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The agreement was reached too late to bring it before Congress at the long session, and the first opportunity is taken now to do so.
The advantages of uniform international signals at sea are recognized by all. Practically every foreign vessel visiting American waters will be familiar with the new code of lights for fishing vessels and will know what course to pursue when such lights are seen.
Until May 1, 1906, the international rules for preventing collisions at sea provided no distinctive lights for fishing vessels, except for European waters north of Cape Finisterre, at the northwestern extremity of the Spanish Peninsula. In all other waters fishing vessels with their nets or other tackle in the water carried precisely the same lights as an ordinary sail vessel or steamer, respectively, under way. Yet an ordinary sail vessel under way and the same sail vessel engaged in fishing with long nets, lines, or trawls in the water are in very different positions. The former can maneuver with freedom; the latter is hampered by its gear. The course to take to avoid collisions with one will at times be different from the course to take to avoid collision with the other.
An approaching vessel, furthermore, should have notice of the whereabouts in the water of the lines and nets of a fishing vessel, if such lines and nets are to be saved from injury by the approaching vessel. The general purpose of the new article 9 is the indication by a system of lights as simple as practicable, of the kind and extent of the fishing tackle in the water attached to a fisbing vessel, sail or steam. The American fisheries are carried on mainly by sail vessels, though there is a gradual increase in steam fishing vessels. Steam trawlers, common in the English Channel and North Sea, are very rare as yet in our waters, and some portions of the new regulations, accordingly, would have only limited application to American vessels. The anchor lights provided for a fishing vessel are the same as the anchor lights for any vessel, with the further requirement that on the approach of another vessel the fishing vessel shall show another white light in the direction of her nets, if in the water, obviously to protect such nets, as well as to prevent their entanglement in the screw of a steamer.
The rule prescribes a few special lights for fishing vessels in the Mediterranean and on the coasts of Japan and Korea, which do not especially concern American interests. With these explanations the rule is simpler than might be supposed from the number of its requirements necessary to protect all forms of fishing gear and at the same time give specific warning to approaching vessels. On December 8, 1905, the Maritime Law Association of the United States passed a resolution approving this rule.
During August and September the Bureau of Navigation mailed directly to principal owners and masters of American fishing vessels on the seaboard over 1,000 circulars giving the proposed rule, with an explanation, and requesting expressions of opinion. The replies received up to date have not been as general as was hoped for, but a large majority favors the new rule.
Revised article 9 has been approved and is now enforced by the following nations: Great Britain, Germany, Norway, France, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Austria-Hungary, Greece, Belgium, Argentina, Portugal, China, Peru, Egypt, Venezuela, Siam, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. These nations control over 80 per cent of the world's merchant shipping and all the great navies, except the American.
The revised article 9 should be adopted by the United States for the following reasons :
1. The United States initiated the movement for improvement of the rules for preventing collisions at sea, and should cheerfully cooperate in completing the work.
2. Over 80 per cent of the world's tonnage is now under the revised rule, so it is in fact international law in which we should acquiesce.
3. So far as can be ascertained the large majority of interested American opinion favors the rule.
4. The rule is intrinsically good. The only objection which has been suggested is that of a few who have written that they do not wish to incur the expense of buying and keeping the additional light which is required in some cases.
The committee further recommend that a similar House bill, H. R. 21386, do lie upon the table.
LANDS IN YAKIMA INDIAN RESERVATION.
JANUARY 9, 1907.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.
Mr. LACEY, from the Committee on the Public Lands, submitted the
[To accompany H. J. Res. 190.]
The Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred the joint resolution (H. J. Res. 190) relating to lands in Yakima Indian Reservation, having had the same under consideration, respectfully submit the following report:
The facts are stated in the following communication from the Department of the Interior:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, January 2, 1907. SIB: I am in receipt of your letter of December 6, 1906, inclosing copy of joint resolution No. 190, “ Extending protection of second proviso of section one of the act of December twenty-first, nineteen hundred and four, to certain entryinen," and requesting suggestions of information in regard to the same.
In reply I transmit herewith a report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office in the premises. The lands had in view by said resolution are within the Yakima Indian Reservation, Wash., established by treaty of date June 9, 18.55 (12 Stat. L., 951). For many years the Indians claimed more lands iban were embraced within the recognized limits of their reservation proper. An investigation had resulted in findings sustaining the claim, which involved a tract adjoning said reservation on the west containing approximately 292,837 acres. These findings were approved by the Department April 7, 1900. The validity of the Indian claim to said tract was specifically recognized by the Congress in the first proviso of section 1 of said act of December 21, 1904 (33 Stat. L., 595), entitled "An act to authorize the sale and disposition of surplus or unallotted lands of the Yakima Indian Reservation, in the State of Washington," and the same was regarded as part of said reservation for the purposes of the act. The second proviso of section 1 reads as follows:
“That where valid rights have been acquired prior to March fifth, nineteen hundred and four, to lands within said tract by bona fide settlers or purchasers under the public-land laws, such rights shall not be abridged, and any claim of said Indians to these lands is hereby declared to be fully compensated for by the expenditure of money heretofore made for their benefit and in the construction of irrigation works on the Yakima Indian Reservation."
As set forth by the Commissioner of the General Land Office in his report, these lands were withdrawn by order of April 22, 1904, from all forms of appropriation pending action by the Congress, and the local officers at North
Yakima, Wash., were notified accordingly. Some of the lands withdrawn, however, were within the Vancouver land district, and the local officers there were not notified of the withdrawal until June 21, 1904. Before that date some of the persons who had settled on said lands prior to March 5, 1904, executed relinquishments and sold their claims and the purchasers were allowed to make entries, the local officers having received no notice of the withdrawal. After the passage of the act of December 21, 1904, such purchasers were called upon to show cause why their said entries should not be canceled, as their claims, not being based upon bona fide settlement or purchase prior to March 5, 1904, the date named in the act, were not regarded as contemplated or protected by said act. The resolution in question is for the relief of purchasers from bona fide settlers on March 5, 1904, where said purchasers were allowed to make entries prior to December 21, 1904, the date of the act.
By the express terms of the act of December 21, 1904, the lands coming thereunder were recognized as part of the Yakima Indian Reservation, and the Indian title was to be regarded as extinguished and the Indian claim as fully compensated for only in those instances where valid rights were acquired by bona fide settlers or purchasers prior to March 5, 1904, which was the date of the introduction of the first bill for the disposal of said lands for the benefit of the Indians. While the rights of such persons were not abridged by the passage of the act of December 21, 1904, and they were to be allowed to complete their claims, yet there is no provision in the act for the initiation of rights subsequent to March 5, 1904. It follows that upon failure to complete valid rights existing on that date, or their abandonment or relinquishment, the !ands involved would have to be disposed of as Indian reservation lands in accordance with the further provisions of the act for the benefit of the Indians. Hence in the absence of further legislation the entries allowed to those who have purchased from persons who were bona fide settlers on March 5, 1904. would have to be canceled. But in cases where parties have purchased claims in good faith and have been allowed to make entries without notice of the previous withdrawal of the lands they apparently possess equities entitled to protection, "if,” in the language of the joint resolution, “ they have continued to comply in good faith with the requirements of the settlement laws." I therefore approve the recommendation of the Commissioner of the General Land Office in his report favorable to said resolution. Very respectfully,
E. A. HITCHCOCK, Secretary. Hon. JOHN F. LACEY,
Chairman Committee on the Public Lands, House of Representatives.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
GENERAL LAND OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., December 20, 1906. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, by reference from the Assistant Secretary, on December 13, 1906, for report in duplicate, with recommende. tion and return of papers, of House joint resolution 190, entitled “Joint resolution extending protection of second proviso of section one of the act of December twenty-first, nineteen hundred and four, to certain entrymen," as follows:
“Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That where entries were allowed by the local land office prior to December twenty-first, nineteen hundred and four, of lands purchased from persons who were bona fide settlers on March fifth, nineteen hundred and four, such entrymen shall be entitled to the protection extended by the second proviso of section one of the act of December twenty-first, nineteen hundred and four, if they have continued to comply in good faith with the requirements of the settlement laws.”
The act of December 21, 1904 (33 Stat. L., 595–598), recognized the Indian title to certain lands which had been excluded by an erroneous boundary survey from the then reservation of the Yakima Indians, and provided that said tract, which contained approximately 292.837 acres, should be regarded as a part of the reservation for the purposes of the act. It was provided in section i of the act that valid rights acquired prior to March 5, 1904, by bona fide settlers or purchasers under the public-land laws should not be abridged. Instructions under said act were issued by the Department June 28, 1905 (33 L. D., 671-673). By direction of the Department, the local officers of North Yakima, Wash., were on April 22, 1904, notified of the withdrawal of the lands in question from entry, filing, or selection. It appears, however, that a part of two townships was within the boundaries of the Vancouver land district, and the latter office was not notified of the withdrawal until June 21, 1904. Prior to the latter date some of the settlers who had settled upon these lands prior to March 5, 1904, sold their claims to others, and as the local officers had not received notice of the withdrawal the purchasers were permitted to make entries. After the passage of the act of December 21, 19904, such entrymen whose rights were not based upon bona fide settlements made prior to March 5, 1904, were required to show cause why their entries should not be canceled for the reason that the act in question had no application to their cases and afforded them no protection. It would appear from the showing submitted in connection with these cases that the parties had purchased the claims in good faith without notice of the withdrawal, and had in some instances expended as much as $1,200 in the improvement thereof. This resolution appears to have been proposed for the protection of such entrymen, and as their cases present strong equities it is respectfully recommended that same be given your approval. All papers herewith returned. Very respectfully,
G. F. POLLOCK,
Acting Commissioner. The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR. Your committee recommend that the resolution do pass.